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What kind of an agri-food policy does India need?

Topics Covered: Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.

What kind of an agri-food policy does India need?

According to Ashok Galati, the Infosys Chair Professor for Agriculture at ICRIER:

  1. It should be able to produce enough food, feed and fibre for its large population.
  • In this regard, the best step is to invest in R&D for agriculture, and its extension from laboratories to farms and irrigation facilities.
  • It is believed that developing countries should invest at least one per cent of their agri-GDP in agri-R&D and extension. India invests about half.
  1. It should do so in a manner that not only protects the environment, soil, water, air, and biodiversity but achieves higher production with global competitiveness.
  • This can be done by switching from the highly subsidised input price policy (power, water, fertilisers) and MSP/FRP policy for paddy, wheat and sugarcane, to more income support policies linked to saving water, soil and air quality.
  1. It should enable seamless movement of food from farm to fork, keeping marketing costs low, save on food losses in supply chains and provide safe and fresh food to consumers.
  1. Consumers should get safe and nutritious food at affordable prices.
  • The public distribution of food, through PDS, that relies on rice and wheat, and that too at more than 90 per cent subsidy over costs of procurement, stocking and distribution, is not helping much.

Sources: Indian Express.